Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is already getting a series of requests to remove objectionable personal information from its search engine after a European court stated that users have the “right to be forgotten.” That’s according to a report from Reuters citing a source familiar with the matter.
According to the court ruling, nearly 500 million citizens in the region can request that the Internet search giant remove information which is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” If Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) fails to honor those requests, it will face fines.
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Ruling open to questions
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has not yet figured out a method for handling all the requests after Tuesday’s ruling, according to the source, who is not allowed to speak on the record about the issue.
Eric Schmidt, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) executive chairman, said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday said that there are many open questions about the ruling and its implications on the company’s operations.
“A simple way of understanding what happened here is that you have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know. From Google’s perspective, that’s a balance,” Schmidt said.
Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University and head of the National Constitution Center, said that the court did not set out clearly the criteria of accepting requests to clear links.
Google need a process to address requests
To comply with the court order and users’ requests, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will have to build an “army of removal experts” in all the countries of the European Union, even in the places where Google does not have operations. It is not yet decided that whether these experts would just remove the stuff or also examine the merits of every request, according to the source.
The court ruling stated that users will be able to submit their requests directly to the Internet company rather than to local authorities or publishers. If Google rejects or fails to remove the link, then the person can go to court.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has technology in place for removing videos on YouTube after a request has been made. Maybe the Internet giant could use a similar automated process to adhere with the EU requirements.